Tucked away in the heart of San Antonio, hidden behind a fence of hedges, sits Texas’ first museum of modern art: The McNay Art Museum.

The McNay has a constantly growing collection that is much larger than the original 700 pieces bequeathed by Marion Koogler McNay. The McNay formally opened the wrought iron doors of its Spanish-colonial mansion as a public art museum in 1954 and holds over 20,000 art pieces including sketches, paintings and sculptures.

The McNay receives 100,000 visitors annually and houses mostly 19th and 20th century European and American pieces by artists such as Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, O’Keeffe and Hopper.

“It’s a gem,” Melissa Baird, head of marketing at the McNay said. The McNay offers a wide range of interests for all from the great impressionist work of Monet to the modern kinetic sculptures of Georg Rickey.

Various touring exhibits and attractions frequent the McNay and have recently included: the retro home furnishings by George Nelson. The art of “The Orient Expressed” and props from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” will soon adorn the walls of the McNay.

“The Orient Expressed” will be an exhibit following the influence of Japan on western art. From
Oct. 5, 2011 through Jan. 15, 2012
, “Japonisme” will be the theme, and various forms of media and representation will be on display. The works of Mary Cassatt will be present along with pieces from Tiffany & Co. Museum visitors can expect to see various decorative arts with oriental patterns, theatre pieces and prints and assortment of clothing.

Through Jan. 1, 2012, the McNay will be playing host to an array of props used in the making of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, a well-known stop-action movie produced in 1993.  The showcase, made possible by the McNay’s Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts, will include rare glimpses of Jack Skellington’s tower and Oogie Boogie himself. On display in time for both Halloween and Christmas, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” exhibit will be a fun treat for any Tim Burton fanatic or the young and ghoulish at heart.

If you are looking for a more hands-on itinerary, on Oct. 1 from 1-3 p.m., the Valero Learning Centers will host “The Edge of Imagination Station,” where hands-on activities will allow museum visitors to create individual 3D animations with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” objects and themes.

“One of the great things about having young people in the museum is that they just light up and turn on when they look at works of art,” said Rose Glennon, curator of education. So, join the love of art that Marion Koogler McNay began in 1929 and bask in the fine art to see just what the McNay has to offer. 

Every Thursday night after 4:00 p.m., the McNay offers a night of free admission to the public. The McNay also offers student discount for those with a valid school-photo ID.

The McNay Art Museum is located at 6000 North New Braunfels, San Antonio, Texas 78209. For more information on future exhibits or hours, contact the McNay at: (210) 824-5368 or info@mcnayart.org.

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